<![CDATA[Allison Gingras ... Reconciled To You - BLOG]]>Tue, 21 Nov 2017 20:21:50 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit ~Mary, Model of Faith & Fidelity]]>Wed, 15 Nov 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-mary-model-of-faith-fidelity
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With Faith Everything has Purpose

There is no doubt in my mind that coincidences are God's way of making His loving presence known.  This weekend, I spent a few hours in the hospital first visiting my father, who is suffering from Congestive Heart Failure as well as severely decreased kidney function. Then made my way, in the same hospital, to spend some time with my 93 year old Godmother, who after many years of living on her own and as sharp as a tack, is experiencing seizures and memory loss.  My victory of the afternoon, making her laugh (more than once)! 

When I arrived back home, I decided to unwind by perusing Facebook (FB) and sending out some FB birthday love.  My usual method of posting FB Birthday Wishes, posting a fun bitmoji, does not usually entail me actually visiting my friend's wall.  However, yesterday, by the stroke of one 'wrong' key, I landed on the FB wall of a long-time friend, and saw the following post made way back in 2009.

So much about this post is remarkable.  First, I had completely forgotten I'd even written anything of the sort, but was immediately struck by the title, Mary: Model of Faith and Fidelity.  Noting this was written long before I saw my first Fidelity Truck OR developed my current presentation (also offered as  retreat day) Mary, Model of Faith.  Yep the whole thing is just one Crazy Godcidence  -- hence I had to share!
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Mary: Model of Faith and Fidelity

Mary's yes to the angel Gabriel, hence to God, -- her “let it be done to me according to your word“, is an amazing model to responding to God's call in our own lives. Mary said yes to much more than just being the vessel to carry the baby Jesus , she models for us great faith and fidelity.

Mary personally welcomes and receives Jesus into her life, and we are called to do the same. To acknowledge all that he is - fully human and fully divine. Jesus humbled himself to be born man - so that we can see that he understands our struggles, our pains, our desires and fears. He walked among us in human flesh, completely able to sin, but choosing not to, the ultimate example of fidelity to God, and his Will in our lives. Accepting and receiving Jesus as our Lord and Savior, the one that took on our sins - each and every one of them.   Allowing ourselves to embrace the great truth (and gift) that he suffered, died, and rose - so that we also may one day RISE with him!

The Workings of the Holy Spirit

Mary was open to the action of the Holy Spirit. It is the spirit that testifies or witnesses to the truth. The truth that God is our Father - that it is He, who Gave His one and ONLY son so whoever may believe in him, may not perish but have eternal life. The Spirit moves and breathes within us - it is through the Spirit that we touch Jesus nail holes and spear pierced side -- testifying to the resurrection, not in matter but in the very marrow of our beings. When we allow that Spirit to testify to our hearts, when we choose not to lean on our own understanding, but allow the supernatural spirit of God himself to direct us -- it is then that Great and Mighty things can be done through us, as it was with Mary.

Sr. Nancy Keller, at the 2009 Boston Catholic Women’s conference, told this wonderful story of the transforming power of allowing the Holy Spirit to move in our lives. Sr. Nancy shared with us a vision of herself as a bird sitting in a cage (inspired by Psalm 124:7). The door had been completely moved from the cage, Jesus had removed it through his Paschal Mystery, but yet the bird stayed perched in its confines. Jesus called to her urging her to come forth, for He had set her free. She wanted to, her heart burned to be free, but she was afraid, and replied to Jesus that she could not move, she didn’t have the strength. Jesus gently spoke to her soul, assuring her that he knew she could not fly on her own, and that is why he sent his the spirit - God’s Holy Spirit - the one that if we cooperate with, is the wind beneath our wings.

Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; The snare is broken and we have escaped.
                                                                    ~ Psalm 124:7
(NASB)

Embracing the Word of God

Lastly, Mary embraced the Word of God (as it became flesh within her), and allowed that Word to be implanted within her and grow - bearing incredible fruit! We too can embrace the word of God in our lives through the reading at Mass and through the study of the sacred scriptures. Working together with the Spirit to be enlightened to the truth through the living word of God. Letting it implant in our hearts bringing us closer to our Lord and our God. Just as this truth grew and came forth from Mary to spread the Good News, we too can bear that fruit forth by not holding onto this precious gift but sharing it.

May Mary’s fiat - her YES to God -- be a true model to each of us. Let us respond with a resounding YES, welcoming and receiving Christ daily, being open to the movement of the Spirit in our lives, and embracing and sharing the precious Word of God. May it be done to me according to your word (Luke 1:38).
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<![CDATA[Pope Francis' Recipe For Holiness: One Part Grace]]>Thu, 09 Nov 2017 08:00:00 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/pope-francis-recipe-for-holiness-ingredient-1-grace

The Grace Trifecta

Standing before a room of 30 or so women facilitating my first faith sharing back in 2006, I fumbled around for the proper words as I tried to answer one participant's seemingly simple question on the grace of God.  What is grace?  While I had this innate understanding, I could not formulate the right words to express what I believed it to be. I realized, I had no definition. 

Fast forward a few years, I am sitting in a small chapel in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (aka Jesus in the Eucharist). In my reading I once again face the question, what is grace? This time I open the Catechism of the Catholic Church; and prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit.   That day the Allison abridged version of how I define the grace of God, was born. 
Freely given, yet completely undeserved.  We can not do anything to earn it; from his love we are lavished abundantly with the Spirit of God.  The caveat, so to speak, is we do need to be open to receive it. Grace, though abundantly available, requires our invitation, our willingness to allow God to touch our lives in this magnificent way.  Grace is God's Holy Spirit in US!  It helps us to choose holiness; including the help we often (read in my case ALWAYS) need to make the better choices that will continually lead us to God and the holy lives we seek - and ultimately to eternity with Him, the Son, our Blessed Mother, and  all the angels and saints, in heaven.  

That evening nearly 10 years ago, not only was I completely unsure how to define grace but I also had no idea how to seek an increase of it within me.  It was abundant and freely available; I could not earn it but how did I open myself to receive it?   

After many more years of studying scripture, the Catechism and spending many hours in prayer and adoration; my heart began to understand that best way to this abundant outpouring of grace was through what I affectionately refer to as "The Grace Trifecta".

This trifecta encompasses our encounters with the Triune God (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) in:
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  • Prayer
  • Sacrament 
  • Scripture
Prayer
As St Paul teaches, I try to incorporate prayer into my every breathe - to 'pray without ceasing'.  I am not on my knees or continually reciting a vocal prayer - but I am ever mindful of God in my life.  Consciously aware that it is because of him that I have life; that he is in all things and with me in all circumstances.  My first prayer of the day is to ask for his outpouring of grace into my heart so that I may never forget those important lessons; nor miss out on any of the many blessings he has for me hidden in each day!

Sacrament

At the core of every Sacrament is an encounter with Jesus Christ.  It is impossible to have an encounter with Christ and not be changed.   Every time we live out our Baptism; receive or adore him in the Eucharist; or receive forgiveness in Confession - we are changed.  One of my favorite aspects of the Sacraments is how they interact with our senses. Catholicism is a full-body sport! In living a sacramental life one smells our prayers raising to heaven on the smoke of the incense; we see the body of Christ in the Church; we taste his body and blood in the Eucharist.  We hear the call to holiness in the hymns, chants and prayers.  We feel the touch of Christ in his priests during the anointing of Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the Sick.  The Sacraments clearly bring us to our senses - and in doing so we are open, prepared and do in fact receive grace. Abundantly. 

Scripture


"The Word became flesh so that thus we might know God's love: "In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him." "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." CCC 458

​Maybe my math is a little off; as I am not the best mathematician but as I see it, Scripture = Grace because ...

God gave us Jesus to redeem and save us... out of love.
Jesus is the WORD made flesh.
That Word is revealed in the scriptures.

IF then we read the Word of God (aka Scripture) than it is infused by it's very nature in God's LOVE.

IT is from love that God sends us HIS Holy Spirit to abide in us - that love that is manifest in an outpouring of his abundant grace.  So therefore reading the scripture opens our hearts and minds to the gift of grace.  It is also an encounter with Christ - and I will reiterate - it is impossible to have experience with the Son of God and remain the same person.  You will always walk away changed for the better ... and that is grace! 



​​All rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2016
Cover and inset photo credit:  Debbie Gaudino, Saints365 2016

All The Ingredients

Visit Saints 365 for more on our summer Recipe for Holiness! #Recipe4Holiness

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<![CDATA[A #WorthRevisit Interview and ...SOMETHING NEW!!]]>Wed, 08 Nov 2017 04:47:05 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-but-also-something-new
#SuperGirls and Halos Super International Blog Tour and Giveaway

A long time #FanGirl of author, Maria Morera Johnson,
it is my pleasure to share SUPER BLOG TOUR
her amazing new book - Super Girls and Halos

Wanting to find a fun way to introduce Super Girls and Halos to you - I decided to share an interview with the author! Maria's answers are in bold - which seemed appropriate given the boldness with which she writes.  While her new book can be light in tone. *SHAZAM*  It is thoroughly rich in insightful and encouraging content!
#SuperGirls and Halos Super International Blog Tour and Giveaway

Super Girls and Virtues

Maria, can you take us into your thoughts?  I am so curious as to how one contemplates the virtues of justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance, and thinks ooh, female superheroes! Saints, I get, but the superheroes connection definitely begs a desire for more explanation.

I get a variation of this question a lot, and to be honest, it wasn’t really that way by design, but the Holy Spirit has a fun way of suddenly turning on the lights for me.

I knew I wanted to talk about the heroines’ strengths, and I knew there were specific character traits I wanted to talk about -- certainly Wonder Woman and Justice. As I started making lists of these attributes, I saw a pattern emerge. Boom!

A SUPER SAINT POSSE

I thought you had exhausted what I refer to as a Saint Posse, in your first book, My Badass Book of Saints.  The subheading My Companions on the Quest for Truth, Justice, and Heroic Virtue, hints you have more saintly friends to share with us.   While I am aware this new book is not a sequel to Badass, I am wondering, will we met new companions, learn more about those introduced before, or find a mix of new and familiar saintly friends?

There are all new Saints in this book, and I hope I do have a good mix of favorites and new ones. St. Clare of Assisi is paired with Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I include St Kateri Tekakwitha and St Mary Magdalne, too. Then, I bring along St. Mary MacKillop, who was teased by a pope for having been excommunicated, and St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, who is one of my new favorites. I hope the book intrigues people and leads them to read more about these and other saints.
#SuperGirls and Halos Super International Blog Tour and Giveaway
Gracious Maria meeting me for a beer in 2014

Super Role Models

As I mentioned in my first question, Super Girls and Halos, includes the Cardinal Virtues (justice, prudence, fortitude and temperance).   Let’s say I fancy myself a pretty decent person, do I really need to grow in knowledge and understanding of the virtues?  What benefit are these virtues to us mere mortals as compared to our superhero friends?

I think that most of us fundamentally want to be good. To that end, we seek role models that demonstrate positive traits that we’d like to emulate. These heroines have qualities that are positive and worthy of emulating, but we really need more than just “being good.” Framing these characters with the cardinal virtues, and showing those virtues in the lives of saints can encourage us to seek more than just being good, but being holy -- seeking and trusting and loving the Lord as the saints demonstrate.

A Super Sales Pitch

Let’s put on our imagination caps – this will be fun!  So, I am perusing the books on the shelf of my favorite Catholic Bookstore.  I see Super Girls and Halos on the shelf.  This particular copy of the book has super powers – it can talk!  What does it say to entice me to bring it home to read and share with the Bible Babes (aka the faith sharing small group that meets weekly at my home)?

You crack me up...
Ok, what would the book say? It wouldn’t say anything; it would send out a laser beam and grab you right away! I mean, you gotta be a little curious about what the super girls have in common with the saints, don’t you? I think Ave Maria Press is my superpower -- they did a great job with a fun title and cover design!

#SuperGirlsandHalos SUPER Giveaway

The Super Power to Trust God

Who is a SuperGirl Saint in your life? What virtue have they helped you with? This question will be addressed throughout the Blog Tour. 


Maria's Response:
My Saint SuperGirl is St Clare.  In the book, I feature her in the section on Justice — discussing the importance of giving God his due: our worship and praise. Like St Clare, I want to offer my praise and worship unconditionally and with great trust

Allison's Response:
For me, the answer is St. Faustina and she's been helping me learn to trust God for a very long time.  My time spent reading her diary, considering the circumstances of her life, and contemplating her conversations with Christ, have continually strengthened my own ability to trust God.  I call upon her intercession often.  She was particularly supportive during the adoption of my little Faithy from China.  St. Faustina has helped me live the words given to me by my amazing Spiritual Director, Deacon Jerry Ryan.  "If you are going to trust God, then Trust God!"

WHO is Your Super Girl Saint? Share in the Comments Below!

Follow the #SuperGirlsandHalos Blog Tour Daily Nov 8 through 22 AND Don't miss the #SuperGiveaway

TAKE THE TOUR:
THE SCHEDULE OF BLOG STOPS ...

Nov. 8  Interview with Author, Maria M. Johnson – Reconciled To You
Nov. 9 Blog Tour Stop #2 - Monica McConkey at Equipping Catholic Families
Nov. 10  Blog Tour Stop #3 - Chasing Time and Drinking Wine
Nov. 11 (Happy Veteran’s Day) Blog Tour Stop #4 - CatholicDoor
Nov. 12 Blog Tour Stop #5 - Julia Harrell
Nov. 13 Blog Tour Stop #6 - The Pearl of Great Price
Nov. 14 Blog Tour Stop #7 - Training Happy Hearts
Nov. 15 Blog Tour Stop #8 - Strengthen My Heart
Nov. 16th Blog Tour Stop #9 - The Lemke Lodge
Nov. 17 Blog Tour Stop #10 - Life in Every Limb
Nov. 18t Blog Tour Stop #11 - Hail Marry
Nov. 19 Blog Tour Stop #12 - Not So Formulaic
Nov. 20 Blog Tour Stop #13 - Green Catholic Burrow
Nov. 21 Blog Tour Stop #14 - Beautiful Camouflage
Nov. 22 Blog Tour Stop #15 - Sew Many Wild Things

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<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit - How to Pray for The Holy Souls]]>Wed, 01 Nov 2017 10:31:00 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-how-to-pray-for-the-holy-souls
November 1 through 8 is dedicated in the Catholic Church to praying for the souls of the faithfully departed... here's how.

Special Graces for the Holy Souls

In November 2008, after being a Catholic for over 30 years, I was introduced to these special indulgences for faithful departed:

  • A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the souls in Purgatory, may be gained on the 2nd by making a pious visit to a church to pray a Our Father and the Apostles Creed

  • A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, may also be gained from November 1 to November 8 by visiting cemeteries and praying The  Requiem (aka the Eternal Rest Grant Unto Thee, Lord) prayer for the souls of the departed. (fisheaters.com)

Images from the cemetery for the Congregation of Holy Cross
on the campus of Stonehill College in North Easton, MA

Overcoming Fear for a Good Cause

Fascinated by this Spiritual Work of Mercy, I pushed past my usual fear of all things death and dying, and made daily pilgrimages during the first week of November to local cemeteries to pray for the dead.  It was incredibly moving to be walking among the graves, reading names of people I knew and I did not know, those who had died long before my lifetime or those whose lose was still fresh on my heart.  The grace of offering these 8 days of prayer for souls changed my faith life forever.  My once gripping fear was replaced with overwhelming compassion which compels me to pray daily for the faithfully departed.
The Holy Souls in Purgatory are my good friends.”  The Holy Souls in Purgatory. Out of charity, out of justice, and out of excusable selfishness — they have such power with God! — remember them often in your sacrifices and in your prayers. May you be able to say when you speak of them, “My good friends the souls in purgatory.” The Way, 571  (JosemariaEscriva.info).

Kinda Obsessed

November 1 through 8 is dedicated in the Catholic Church to praying for the souls of the faithfully departed... here's how.
My love for this devotion runs so deep.  Case in point. While visiting Hollywood in 2013 and offered the choice between shopping on Rodeo Drive or visiting the Hollywood Forever cemetery; not only did I CHOOSE the cemetery but I can honestly say it was one of the HIGHLIGHTS of my trip!!   It is not every day you get the opportunity to pray for Santa Claus, aka Mickey Rooney!!

Celebrating All Souls Day praying the Requiem Prayer in Cemeteries ... find out why
Hollywood Forever cemetery, CA. This was truly one of my FAVORITE parts of my LA trip!

How To Pray for Souls

During November 1 through 8th, I will attend Mass every day. After Mass, I will visit a cemetery to pray for all those buried there. This devotion to the pray for the faithfully (and even the not so faithfully) departed has been a great source of blessings and grace, one I consider a great privilege to participate in.   

The prayer taught to me, which is actually a set of prayers, is the one presented in 
The Pieta Prayer Book and is truly one of my absolute favorites.

While at the cemetery (**personally, I like to walk up and down the rows, looking prayerfully at each name) we are to pray:

  • Recite the Apostle's Creed 5 times
  • 1 Hail, Holy Queen
  • 1 each of the Our Father (Lord's Prayer), Hail Mary and Glory be; and
  • Conclude with the Requiem:  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, and may they rest in peace. Amen.
"We must say many prayers for the souls of the faithful departed, for one must be so pure to enter heaven."  
                                                                     ~
St. Jean Marie Vianney

HAPPY All SAINTS AND ALL SOULS DAY
CELEBRATE WELL MY FRIENDS!
YOU'LL BE ETERNAL GRATEFUL FOR THE GRACES!!


#WorthRevisit Wednesday Catholic Blog Link Up ... Allison's entry this week: November 1 through 8 is dedicated in the Catholic Church to praying for the souls of the faithfully departed... here's how.
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<![CDATA[#WorthRevisit CWBN Hop Question - Why Blog?]]>Wed, 25 Oct 2017 10:44:39 GMThttp://reconciledtoyou.com/blog/worthrevisit-cwbn-hop-question-why-blog
#WorthRevisit Wednesday - why I blog

 I REALLY dislike the Word - BLOG

 In 2009, as my heart was being transformed in ways I had never dreamed through a 'reversion' to the Catholic Church; so was my desire to share that joy with others. Although blogging was already a thing in 2009, my pure disdain for the word kept me from launching my own until April 2012.

Why this change of heart?  I saw the potential for engagement with others seeking to know Christ and deepen their faith.  I also recognized how powerfully moved one could be when reading about the spiritual journey of others, particularly as it related to their every day ordinary life.   My first post (see below) was short and sweet, no images and no hyperlinks. As my kids would say, I was a real newb.
NEW To Reconciled to You -- a blog about Living the Sacraments in our daily lives.  This blog will cover reflections on actual sacramental events and the occasional informative post on the Sacraments themselves.   These blog entries will come not just from me, but from various sources - since we all make up the body of Christ, it makes only sense that I span out to bring you the broadest picture of Life in the Sacraments.  

***Want to guest blog?  Email me your proposed blog entry and if it meets the criteria of this forum, I will happily post it to this Blog!!  Along with a beautiful picture of your face, and a link to your own website or social media outlet!! ****

How Times Change

Five years later, and I AM amazed at how the ministry and my blog has evolved.  The Lord has opened up so many doors - starting in June of 2012, with an opportunity to write for Catholicmom.com.  This allowed me to share my love of the Catholic faith, my family and writing with even more people like me searching to find God among the hustle and bustle.

My blog has grown to include:
  • An incredible Wednesday link up #WorthRevisit - launched to give new life to old long forgotten yet beloved blog posts.  A brilliant solution to Elizabeth Reardon and I trying to figure out how to add another day of content without actually having to THINK!   
  • Lots of fabulous guest bloggers. One of my favorite collaboration was the #MusicThatMoves series.
  • The newest addition - the Catholic Women Bloggers Network Blog Hop - for which this blog post is being written.  Each month we share a new theme or topic - you can find there AWESOME entries by clicking HERE!  
  • Guess that brings me to another reason for blogging:  COMMUNITY!
Catholic Women Bloggers Network Blog Hop - introducing the women behind the blogs
Click Above to be Introduced to Many Other Amazing Catholic Bloggers

Hate the Word, but LOVE the Action

While I still dislike the word - BLOG (bleck).  I have come to absolutely adore blogging.  The ability to share how the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me in my prayer life; participation in the Sacraments and through my exploration of Scripture - is such an amazing gift!   In addition, the wonderful people God has introduced to me through this and the other blogs I've been blessed to contribute to - has made putting up with this stupid word - absolutely WORTH IT!!  I guess, I can't deny what is in my heart - The Blog Life is definitely for me


​All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017

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